Why can't politicians keep it in their pants? Today's topic, Congressman Anthony Wiener

Discussion in 'Archive: The Senate Floor' started by DarthPoppy, Jun 6, 2011.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    There are so many problems here I don't know where to begin.

    What I was addressing in my last post was the notion that somehow, people should be completely bewildered or uncertain about the meaning of a black man (eg Thomas) making a reference to lynching as a way of invoking a charge of racism. Both you and Lowbacca's insistence on this point seems to be born of some fear of acknowledging race. I don't understand why, but it's patently foolish.

    We all acknowledge that there are many possible meanings to a given statement. But we also should all concede that not all possible meanings are equally likely. In particular, groups of people have common experiences, and from these common experiences are forged common identity and culture. Within these cultures, certain events and terms acquire unique power as reference points or touchstones. Identifying what those are is a valid method for helping to puzzle through the meaning of someone's statements. You keep begging for "additional information" but ignore basic demographic facts like the identity of speaker, of the addresses, and the context of a nomination hearing for what would prospectively be the only Black justice on the court.

    This has nothing to do with looking for context clues, and everything to do with his fixed intent on ignoring certain ones.
  2. Kimball_Kinnison Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2001
    star 6
    Except that the original context of the quote about "high-tech lynching" (as posted by DarthIktomi) didn't make it clear that it was Thomas saying it. That is what you are missing. The way it was referenced, it made it seem as though it was a claim of Republicans (note the plural) in general, of whom Thomas was merely one example. It was not presented as a specific statement from Thomas.

    You may have immediately caught the reference as a quote from Thomas, but it's rather clear that Lowbacca didn't. It wasn't until you actually posted the full quote from Thomas that it was clarified. Until you posted that, there was nothing posted here to provide a basis for claiming that the statement was from a black man.

    I didn't attach any racial significance to it, because I don't go around looking to inject race into political discussions, and I didn't see anything that suggested the comment itself was racially based. I'm not afraid of acknowledging race, but neither do I see the need to focus on everything through a racial paradigm.

    Kimball Kinnison
  3. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    My second post on the topic called it "the original Thomas comment." Lowbacca made three additional points after that post continuing to argue that there was no reason to think race may have been a part of the commentary. If he doesn't know Clarence Thomas is black, he should. Especially since I referred to him as a black man in every subsequent post I made on the topic.

    Further, postulating that an African-American speaking angrily to a white person about "lynching" might have meant something racial is not "going around looking to inject race" into things. It's a term with a specific racial valence, used by parties of the expected racial background. That would tend to make a racial meaning fairly likely. If you hear a black person complaining of "slavery" and your first thought is an eleven year old Cambodian girl being forced into the sex trade, the only thing that implies is that you are completely ignorant of American history and culture.
  4. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    JW, I think that post is where you're going to loose a lot of people. Are you actually suggesting that "a black person complaining of slavery" somehow can't ever refer to the Cambodian sex-slave issue?

    If you hear a black person complaining of "slavery" and your first thought is an eleven year old Cambodian girl being forced into the sex trade, the only thing that implies is that you are completely ignorant of American history and culture.

    Or it means you're not American and have a different context than your own. Or it means that even if American, you're from a city in the North, and don't have a historical connection to slavery at all. There's all sorts of examples where the person might not actually share in your personal perception. Besides, your own statement is rather culturally limiting. You're plainly saying, without exception or alternative, that whenever a black person mentions the word slavery, the listener has no choice but to conclude that the speaker is referring to a rather limited subsection of the concept simply because they are black? I'm not sure how your statement makes any sense.

    What if a person, who happens to be black, asks someone to turn on the radio? Next, you'll suggest that the person being asked has no choice but to turn on rap music. Couldn't someone who is black also prefer classical, or pop music? It doesn't make any sense to say that "whenever someone who is black asks for music, just assume they're asking for rap," any more than it makes sense to say "whenever someone who is black mentions slavery, just assume they're talking about the Pre-Civil War idea of the idea."
  5. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    I'm arguing for the consideration of all relevant contextual clues. My argument has nothing to do with assuming certain people only behave in certain ways. It is instead an acknowledgement of the fact that terms like "lynching" are racially-loaded in American culture. History has given it a definite, well-known racial context. Given that fact, there are only a couple more questions worth asking:

    1. Is the speaker aware of the racial connotation of this term?

    2. Why did the speaker use a racially-loaded term as opposed to any of the numerous neutral alternatives?

    3. Does this situation lend itself to the racial usage?

    If your answer to #1 and #3 are yes, then your answer to #2 should at least strongly consider the possibility that they were using the term because of its racial valence. It's the same process used to analyze the n-word. Is it possible in within the realm of human experience, that they meant one of the out-modded meanings of the word like "hindrance?" Yes. But is it likely, especially given how most people understand the term, how the speaker knows his listeners are likely to understand it? When the speaker is white and the target is black? When there are other words to use that are less likely to offend, like "hindrance" itself? KK and Lowbacca seem to be suggesting that, even in this situation, postulating that "n-word" had a racial meaning is "injecting race into it."

    I find that idiotic. You go where context leads you. In the case of the only black Supreme Court Justice nominee (and only the second history) complaining angrily about his treatment at the hands of an all-white Senate, I would say context leads you towards a racial meaning. Otherwise, why not a term that's not laden with such racial history? Why would we have a reason to believe someone accomplished enough to a Supreme Court justice wouldn't be aware of this historical context?
  6. Mr44 VIP

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
    star 6
    I certainly don't have any issue with what you just posted. I will say that I don't think that the original quote was as clear as it may have been to you. Honestly, I took the quote to be more of a general statement as well. You might have recognized the full meaning within the original quote, others here obviously didn't. I think the issue is with the assumption.

    Let's use a different context? What if I said that "whenever a Hungarian person mentions blood and tongue* soup, just assume that they're using it as a symbol of the 1956 soft revolution against the Soviets..?" First off, that's a really huge assumption to lay at the feet of the listener. And secondly, what might be clear to someone of Hungarian ancestry would be absolutely foreign to someone without that cultural context. Now, granted, that's a really obscure reference, so its not quite the same. Slavery in general is more prolific, but the backwards focus-assumption you're throwing to the listener is the same.

    I think in a nutshell, you probably should have just expanded on the entire original quote right away instead of waiting until the exchange was like 4-5 posts into the discussion... [face_mischief]

    *= and blood and tongue soup is truly gross, so hope you never have to experience it in any context....
  7. DarthIktomi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2009
    star 4
    Face it, Thomas was playing the race card. Nothing less. This is hilarious, considering his opinions since.
  8. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    And the original post had the target not as strictly the Senate, but also Anita Hill. And lynching, alone, doesn't equate to strictly "white on black" violence. Although you seem pretty content to ignore my cultural background, which would include being from the western U.S., where vigilante justice and lynchings were a. often carried out against criminals in general when the west was less controlled and b. were targeted more often at Mexicans since there wasn't much of a black population until later on (and Chinese as well, to an extent) as well as being fairly familiar with how Mormons were treated, including that the founders of the religion were lynched, which was part of the drive to some of my family traveling west.

    So in that sense, I would disagree that the word lynching is, in itself, racially loaded and is far more indicative of out of place violence that is misguided in any context. I would also say that when the context it was given lists Anita Hill as part of the target group, and given that I am aware that Thomas is not popular with more people than are just "white people", and the link to the Senate that contained words discussing race wasn't discussed, from that information the actual word's meaning is a logical inference in the absence of his other comments that are inherently racial.
  9. Jedi Merkurian Episode VII Thread-Reaper and Rumor Naysayer

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 25, 2000
    star 6
    [image=http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_dWIMGuOIG-I/TTHqc47_v2I/AAAAAAAALJU/mOHR0HCJ-oU/s1600/redherring.gif]
    [face_mischief]
  10. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 4, 2003
    star 8
    Seeing as how you were neither the speaker nor one of the people being addressed during the event in question? Yes, I very much am. Your cultural background isn't relevant to understanding what Clarence Thomas was talking about. Clarence Thomas's background is. I can appreciate why you had the mistaken interpretation you did, and at first blush there's not much shame in it. But arguing that your first interpretation was equally likely with the one that was actually true is absurd. You don't have seem to have a lot of experience with the body of cultural references Thomas was making. That's perfectly fine. But one should recognize that fact and either A)try to learn or B)defer to those that know better. Not just keep claiming you're right. In much the same way, I'm not going to insist that whatever the first thing that jumps into my mind when I hear the term "blood and tongue soup" is more correct than Mr44's understanding, or better yet an actual native of Hungary.

    This argument is silly. The only way you will consider something to have a racial context is if there are no other possible meanings? Really? All terms have multiple meanings. As I mentioned earlier, even the n-word can be used to mean a "hindrance or bother" but I certainly hope you wouldn't therefore consider that term to be racially neutral. Likewise, slavery is a way to hook up two computers, a feature of the international sex trade, and historically a relationship much closer to POW/indentured servant status. But none of those alternative meanings would make it racially neutral to talk about black people as slaves. For something to become a charged term, it need only have a prominent association, not be the sole association ever in the history of the universe.
  11. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    If you want to further discuss this via PMs I'm game to do so, but I'm leaving it as is to not continue to go off topic in here.
  12. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    Talking about politicians and pants. Anybody else following the DSK-case? The 'revelations' have been rather stunning the last few days, with the latest rumor floating around that the woman in question had an extra job as prostitute, working in the hotel. Not that I want to put that much stock on revelations by a (let's face it) rag like the NYPost, this whole case has hollywood-plot written all over it.

    So DSK went from "he's going down" to "you're almost off the hook" in a matter of days. I could even seen him getting named PM in 2012 the way this is going.
  13. SuperWatto Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 19, 2000
    star 5
    I like that. I was pretty annoyed by the way everybody and their dog already convicted him, the only justification seemingly being "he's a man, he has power, and he has affairs".
  14. GrandAdmiralPelleaon Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 28, 2000
    star 6
    I think I especially like the way the NYPost went completely schizophrenic on this case.

    From:

    [image=http://www.poynter.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/nypost1.jpg]

    To:

    [image=http://cdn.theatlanticwire.com/img/upload/2011/07/02/front070211.jpeg]

    Trial by public opinion ftw.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.